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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 9 Tasks You Should be Outsourcing

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What is one surprising task you have completely outsourced in the last year?

1. Follow-Up Emails

Derek Capo

    We are implementing Infusionsoft and Freshdesk. Before, I had to manually send emails to prospective clients, but now the automated marketing or the canned responses (that look as if I wrote the email manually) write them for me. It saves me a ton of time without sacrificing quality or service.
    Derek Capo, Next Step China

    2. Hiring and Filtering Process

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    Benji Rabhan

      We hired an outsourced HR person who comprehends automation to help us define roles and design the process behind hiring.
      Benji Rabhan, MorrisCore

       

      3. Customer Service

      dave-nevogt

        Customer service is one of the easiest and most effective business functions to outsource. It’s all about creating good templates and documentation for your support staff. Once you’ve done that, it’s a great function to outsource because in most cases, many of the requests are very similar. One of the best ways to do this is to find a work-from-home mom or dad who can help you part-time.
        Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

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        4. Product Descriptions

        josh weiss

          Pictures are now detailed enough that we can fully outsource all of our product descriptions.
          Josh Weiss, Bluegala

           

           

          5. HR Tasks

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          Phil-Laboon

            We signed up for a service that automated our entire HR department — complete with employee manuals and training. The icing on the cake for me was that they also handle any legal consequences, including unemployment or worker’s compensation.
            Phil Laboon, Clear Sky SEO

            6. Public Relations

            doreen-bloch

              I believe PR to be a core strategic initiative and never thought we would outsource it at Poshly. With the expansion of press efforts in the past year, we decided to outsource our PR efforts to EJ Media Group. The best thing about working with an external PR firm of fantastic caliber is that we collaborate to find the best outlets for publicity, and they can leverage their expertise and contacts.
              Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

              7. Accounting

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              russ oja

                I’m pretty organized and like having my hands on the accounting, but I found it much more efficient and scalable to outsource it to the professionals. If you’re doing menial labor worth less money than your time is worth, it’s time to outsource that to another person.
                Russ Oja, Seattle Windows and Construction, LLC

                8. Social Media

                Maren Hogan

                  I have a genuine love of online community interactions. I love everything about social media, from moderating chats to meeting new people. As my business grew, I just couldn’t keep up with my outlets the way I need to. I now have a social media manager who I trust and appreciate.
                  Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media

                  9. Administrative Tasks

                  Danny Boice

                    We share a virtual administration among our executive team, and it’s worked out surprisingly well. Although, it does mean I have to get my own coffee.
                    Danny Boice, Speek

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                    1 How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work 2 20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs) 3 The Best Interview Questions to Hire Only the Elites 4 How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed 5 15 Smart Ways to Approach Interpersonal Relationships at Work

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                    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

                    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

                    You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

                    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

                    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

                    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

                    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

                    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

                    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

                    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

                    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

                    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

                    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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                    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

                    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

                    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

                    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

                    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

                    Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

                    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

                    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

                    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

                    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

                    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

                    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

                    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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                    4. Show Initiative

                    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

                    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

                    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

                    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

                    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

                    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

                    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

                    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

                    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

                    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

                    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

                    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

                    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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                    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

                    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

                    7. Find a Mentor

                    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

                    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

                    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

                    Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

                    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

                    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

                    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

                    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

                    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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                    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

                    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

                    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

                    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

                    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

                    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

                    The Bottom Line

                    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

                    “Half of life is showing up.”

                    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

                    Remember, your career is your business!

                    More About Continuous Growth

                    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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